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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Indianapolis 500: American Classic? Hardly. More Like American Bore.

So the Indianapolis 500 is less than a week away.  And I could care less.  I mean, other than Danica Patrick, why would should I even want to watch this event on Sunday? It's not like I will even know which car Danica is driving anway, nor will I be able to see her pretty....face!

Seriously though, Indy Car Racing is almost becoming obsolete.  NASCAR has become one of the fastest growing sports in America, even in spite of the fact that some of my friends refer to it as 'Trashcar(Vroom! Vroom! Vroom!).   I have no idea how many people will attend this Sunday's race, but I would be willing to wager that the TV ratings will for the Indy 500 will be signficantly lower than its stock car counterpart, the Daytona 500.  Heck, they might not be even as high as the most recent Nextel Cup race that was televised.

But you don't really care about Indy Car, do you? Well, neither do I.  But in the interest of being fair to all sports(even the less interesting ones), I would like to offer a few tips on how Indy Car can rebuild its fan base:

1.  Appeal to the common man:  NASCAR thrives in part because its leading drivers (Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt,) are portrayed the prototypical everymen.  Fans root for these guys because they can relate to them, and like to think that maybe they could even drive like these guys, even if for only a day.  And that is in large part due to two things: These guys make themselves accesible to the public, and the majority of them are American.  I hate to sound elitist, but just watch the film Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.   Even if "Frenchy"(my apologies to Sacha Baron Cohen, as I don't quite remember your character's name) is technically bettter than Ricky, the fans are clearly behind Ricky Bobby.  The point here is that with all the international names in Indy Car, such as Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchiti, this racing league seems more like a bunch of stuffed shirts. 

I mean take a look at Ricky Bobby in this clip. How can you not root for him?!!!

2. Add more drama:  A big reason that NASCAR is successful is that it entertains both on and off the track.  And as much as that has to do with wrecks during the race, it also is a result of the dynamic  personalities that make up NASCAR.  People either love or hate Kyle Busch. Same goes for Tony Stewart. And Kevin Harvick.  But for that same reason they will watch these guys every Sunday, even if they are rooting for them to fail.

Not only that, but I think NASCAR has just begun to tap into something that has made Hockey popular for so long: fights.  Now don't get me wrong, I don't think NASCAR is openly promoting fighting in its league.  But they could crack down harder on fighting, I just think they don't because they understand drama sells.

3.  More Danica Please:  You're promoting a male dominated sport.  That is watched by predominantly males.  And you have the only female driver in racing.  And she's hot.  Need I say more?  Ok, Ok, I guess I'll have to spell it out for you: put Danica Patrick in the winner's circle, will ya?   Even if she is fully clothed in a cramped car, I bet it would do wonders for the sport if she actually won.  And you might even try throwing enough money at her that she goes full time in Indy Car and wins the Indy Car Series.  If you do, and she does(win, that is), I'm guessing that male viewership demographic ages 18-45 goes up more than slightly, know whadda I mean?

I don't know about you, but there's a couple of more reasons I'd consider being more than a casual IRL fan.
4. Make it about the drivers, and not the cars: so much of the excitement surrounding NASCAR is that you never know who is going to win from week to week. Well, in Indy Car, you pretty much know that the two to three teams with the best engines are going to win the majority of the time. Boring.

5.  Rename your league.  Really wanna know why stock car racing is more popular? Because NASCAR rolls off the tongue so easily.  Okay, so I'm joking about that last one.  But you ever hear about how NASCAR got its name?  One day Jed saw his brother Jeb working on a new car that Jeb had just bought. Jed turned to Jeb and said, " Nas car,  that's a real nas car you got there"

So there you have it IRL folks.  Your welcome.  You can make all appreciation checks out to  J-Rod's Sportszone.

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